Thursday, July 21, 2016

Mt Surprise and Undara Lava Tubes

Mt Surprise is a tiny community of around 65 people situated on the Savannah Way, which is the road that runs from Cairns on the east coast of Australia to Broome on the west coast. This part of the world is most famous for the Undara Lava Tubes. I have wanted to visit the tubes since I visited the  Atherton Tablelands five years ago, but I didn't have enough time to drive here. But I am finally here and today was my time to venture out. The half day tour started by heading into the Undara Volcanic National Park and our 2.5 kilometre walk up and around the rim of Kalkani Crater. The walk was a bit steep but the group took it nice and slowly stopping along the way to learn about the surrounds such as the three other volcanoes in the area. Kalkani Crater was created some 200,000 to 400,000 years ago.

The view was the crater rim was pretty spectacular
After returning to the base and having some refreshments it was back in the bus to head to the Wind Tunnel Complex, which is a system of intertwining lava tubes. Here we were to explore the three different sections of the Undara Lava Tubes. Here we made our decent down some rocky terrain, luckily we had a rope to hold onto. This first chamber was the smaller with a height of around eight metres.

The moss on the rocks looked amazing but was a bit slippery to walk on
After a short walk through the bush we came to the larger tube which consisted of two tunnels and had a height of around eleven metres. Once again it was a bit of a climb both in and out with the help of the rope. I was pretty pleased, I handled the rocks a lot better than I thought I would. Thank goodness it's only my right arm that won't work properly and my legs are still in good working order. There was one guy who had had previously had two knee reconstructions and he struggled a bit.

Heading down into our first lava tube
The ceilings and walls in parts of the tubes were some pretty amazing designs and colours. We were all given torches to help us look around the tubes as they were pretty dark when we moved away from the rocky opening.

Inside the larger lava tube was amazing

Without our torches we would never have seen the spectacular colours


Plus we would have fell over as parts of the floor were a bit bumpy


Looking towards our exit route

Looking back into the tube as I climbed out
This is definitely one location I would recommend someone visit. I think the only other location lava tubes such as these can be visited are in Hawaii. Tomorrow is going to be a lazy day before we head further west on Saturday.